der Lärm formed in 1990, a renegade band of Detroit-based graphic designers and painters, artists burning with passionate angst and fed up with the lackluster, antiquated and obesely cheese-filled remnants of the “golden age” of advertising which maintained a sweaty vice-grip on the creative output of the “commercial” or “applied” arts, as well as the lethargic, top-heavy monolith of “fine art” criticism which floated high above mortal perception in the heavenly ether of hyper-intellectualized elitism. der Lärm fervently modeled itself after the modernist movements of the early Twentieth Century, a time when the greatest creative minds of the era banded together and splintered apart again and again in an attempt to break ties with the perceived nostalgic aesthetics of the past and constantly re-define the very nature of art. Groups like Die Brüke, Der Blaue Reiter, the Futurists and the Vorticists were the first punk rockers, owning and manipulating the long-sacred tenets of truth and beauty for themselves, damn the past. Taking cues from his absurd admiration of those first romantic masters of artistic dissention, one of these intrepid aesthetes, Tom Thewes, developed a style which by some has been dubbed Retro-Futurism. He has illustrated for such clients as Playboy, Vibe, Ride Snowboards, Automobile Magazine, Guitar World, Madison Square Garden, Ford, The New York Rangers, Compuware, The Sacramento Kings, The Cotton Bowl and Gatorade, been written about in every major Metro-Detroit based publication as well as Juxtapoz, How and Blue Canvas magazines and exhibited in galleries across the country and in Lithuania.
Now abandoned by those he once held dear, Thewes stands as the last of these brave idiots, the last der Lärm boy. He continues his proud yet tragic battle to remain true to his creative values against the forces of darkness and elitism. Lurking about the environs of the dead city, the bleak urban landscape known to many as Detroit, he is often seen rummaging through piles of debris with Jaspar, his faithful sidekick/dependent offspring, and/or one or more of Jaspar’s obedient sibling minions, Mika, Josh or GoGo, in search of sustenance and material for for what will surely be his coup de maître.”
Here for his first RUN Tom Thewes has brought us BÄDguys his quasi-homage to the late Dr. Kevorkian and his attorney Geoffrey Fieger. Read on to check out the 1xRUN Thru with Tom and more.
1xRun Thru Interview
BÄDguys by Tom Thewes
1xRun: Is the original still for sale?
Tom Thewes: Sorry, no. The original has been sold.
1xRun: When was BÄDguys drawn/created?
Tom Thewes: The drawing was created for my first ©POP Royal Oak exhibit, “Sawbones”, in 1996 and the final painting was made for the final ©POP Detroit exhibition, “© Stands For…” in 2009.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Tom Thewes: der Lärm’s first studio space was in a leaky basement on the corner of 3rd and Main in Royal Oak, Michigan, We shared a parking lot with the restaurant and apart
ments next door. In one of these apartments dwelt “Dr.” Jack Kevorkian who also owned the building. At first we thought him a quirky old kook, just another of the interesting cast of characters in a creatively burgeoning Detroit suburb, as yet undiscovered by mass culture. That first year Dr. Death, as we affectionately dubbed him, rose to prominence and a solar storm of media hype. At that time my brother was studying medical ethics at Georgetown University and as we both held similarly late working hours we held many early morning phone conversations discussing the serious issues surrounding physician assisted suicide and contrasting them with the wildly flamboyant antics of Dr Death and his egomaniacal, ambitious lawyer Geoffrey Fieger. These discussions led to a series of pieces, finished and unfinished, which I exhibited in my first gallery show at ©POP, which began a business relationship that would define my life for the next decade and a half.
1xRun: How long did the piece take?
Tom Thewes: 2 months on and off.
1xRun: What is unique about BÄDguys?
Tom Thewes: it is I think the most refined example of my desire to meld style and materials seamlessly.
1xRun: Why should people buy this RUN?
Tom Thewes: I need money to live.
1xRun: Describe BÄDguys in one gut reaction word.
Tom Thewes: Deceptive.
1xRun: When did you first start making art?
Tom Thewes: I grew up before video games at a time when there were only 3.5 VHF tv stations in a lower middle class family with 6 kids and 2 overly taxed parents who saved every penny. We did a lot with scraps of paper.
1xRun: What was your first piece?
Tom Thewes: I’m not sure, but I do remember selling drawings of superheroes for a quarter at lunch time in 4th grade.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
Tom Thewes: Lately I’ve traded my usual angst ridden Big Black, Einturzende Neubauten, Rammstein, Ministry and Trent Reznor for teenage LG (Little Girl, as dubbed by my daughter) pop music. It’s so wickedly decadent. Also if I’m working late I like audiobooks.
1xRun: What else do you have in the works?
Tom Thewes: An epic mural for Woodward Windows.
1xRun: What medium(s) will these be created in?
Tom Thewes: der Lärm employs the latest technology to produce print work of the highest caliber with the finest achievable resolution and broadest color range possible. Though not specifically on wood (at least not as one usually thinks of wood, e.g. wooden planks or board) BÄDguys has been printed for 1xRUN on a material made from the finely ground pulp of wood and cotton which we call museum quality, 100% rag, heavy weight fine art paper. In addition, we have created a very limited edition of 10 pieces on specially coated and protected sheet metal exclusively for 1xRUN. These prints maintain the same exquisite quality as those on paper while glowing with the reflective radiance of a finely brushed metal.
1xRun: Where can people find you accross the internette?